From the Saw That Coming Department: #MeToo results in chilling effect on hiring women

Jan 27, 2018
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#1
First, a caveat: I think women who make accusations of mistreatment are generally credible and deserve better.

However, from a business perspective it was always pretty clear how this would go. If sexual harassment lawsuits represent a legal liability for your business, you have two options for minimizing it*:

1) Somehow ensure that you only ever hire men who will never ever harass a woman.

2) Hire fewer women.

Predictably, the simplicity of option #2 is winning out. Does taking the Pence option open you to accusations of and lawsuits stemming from sexual discrimination? Sure. Is it harder to prove and win a suit on the basis of sexual discrimination than sexual harassment? I suspect it is.

In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way?

Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women.

Call it the Pence Effect, after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who has said he avoids dining alone with any woman other than his wife. In finance, the overarching impact can be, in essence, gender segregation.
It's one thing to talk about equality of men and women in the workplace. It's another thing to put your business on the line for it. In the era of #MeToo, we're going to see fewer business leaders willing to do so.

* Seeing that the bulk of #MeToo accusations have been made by women against men. Someone is going to raise the specter of women harassing men, or homosexual harassment, but you'd be hard pressed to convince most those are widespread issues.
 

diablos991

Can’t stump the diablos
Jun 15, 2013
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Sorry didn’t see it.

Yeah. Can’t go not hiring women or segregated workplaces.

Investigate workplace complaints. Discipline or terminate when needed. Don’t act on hear say by itself. Keep moving forward.
Problem is twitter and social media doesn’t wait for the investigation part. If you don’t immediately act in favor of the accuser then your company gets a lot of bad PR.
 
Jan 27, 2018
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#13
Doesn't seem to provide any real data or anything concrete, just a bunch of overreactions from a few people on both sides. Absolutely nothing in that article proves your claim that option 2 is "winning out"
You'll never see hard data on this. No company is going to publicly confirm it's reduced hiring of women due to lawsuit concerns.

Best you will ever get is this kind of back-channel reporting.
 
Jan 27, 2018
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#19
This is the only logical outcome. When you demonise and bully people, eventually people would want to stay away from you.
I would suggest it's not even about this. What I'm seeing in the Bloomberg article is not an industry reacting in a knee-jerk fashion, but making the calculated business decision that female hires are a potential liability. You can even agree that women are always right when they speak up about harassment! But then, how do you solve it?

Hiring fewer women is an extremely easy, and potentially undetectable, way to do so.
 
Apr 9, 2009
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#20
Gonna go with correlation does not equal causation, Alex. At least until further data is shown.

Female job candidates have a hundred other factors more important than the incredibly specific and vague risk of raising false sexual harassment claims.
 
Mar 12, 2014
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I think #MeToo is a great example of “great intention, terrible execution.”

It was a matter of weeks, if that, before vultures hijacked the movement and it’s really a shame as the real victims are being overshadowed by the opportunists.
Ummm, I agree that ending the type of behavior at issue is a great intention. But I don't think this movement had a great intention with terrible execution. Seemed more like a "this will finally get him impeached" type of intention that blew up in their faces when the chosen ones kept getting me too'd as collateral damage despite no damage to the actual target.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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#23
What I'm seeing in the Bloomberg article is not an industry reacting in a knee-jerk fashion, but making the calculated business decision that female hires are a potential liability.
Absolutely right. This is not an emotional response to the worst part of MeeToo, false accusations, but as you say a calculated response based on cold logic.
It is just a cold cost-benefit calculation.


If you are accused of sexual assault, maybe a bad joke that failed, your personal career and reputation is immediately destroyed. There is no investigation or wait for the facts involved.
You have no recourse and you can not defend against it.

If you avoid women at all cost in the workplace at worst you may be accused of sexual discrimination which is very hard to prove but also does not carry the same stigma as the previous.. That is bad but it is nowhere near a career ending position.

A simple cost benefit computation.

Not surprised. Very unfortunately but this is the result of MeToo being weaponized for political ideology and as always the victims are mostly innocent. Women whose careers will now not
get the mentoring or support they need to reach the next level. Or women with genuine complaints about SA that are doubted due to the tarnished reputation of MeToo (whose leader is a child rapist).


You remember when they were joking about Pence about this? What a silly old man. Hahaha he so silly. And now more and more men in power, men at a stage in their careers where they should be mentoring
the best of the best in the next generation, now these people unfortunately realize that Pence was right all the this time.
 
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#25
Gonna go with correlation does not equal causation, Alex. At least until further data is shown.

Female job candidates have a hundred other factors more important than the incredibly specific and vague risk of raising false sexual harassment claims.
Anecdotal data is the only thing you will ever get. No company will publish hard numbers and data on how they discriminate against women.
 
Apr 8, 2009
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#27
That's a reasonable stance but let's also not pretend Bloomberg did no homework on this: the report claims "Interviews with more than 30 senior executives."

There's likely something to this, though the full extent of the impact won't be something we can guess at for some time.
Most of the executives discuss things other than hiring, like not going out to dinner with young women colleagues or not having closed-doors meetings with them. It's also not unusual for anonymous interviewees to make claims that are overstated, especially about the negative consequences of something that they're having some difficulty dealing with. Also, it's just as illegal to refuse to hire someone on the basis of sex than to sexually harass someone (though often easier to get away with it, depending on the circumstances). Overall I would take this type of sky is falling article with a large grain of salt.
 
Jun 20, 2018
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#31
First, a caveat: I think women who make accusations of mistreatment are generally credible and deserve better.
This kinda dumb thinking is what caused this issue in the first place especially looking at third wave feminism of today that dont have much of a cause but a lot of voices, no one is automatically credible because of genitals you still need to investigate and have proof or you get it the kava way.
 
#35
Wait, if theres no data and no one admitting that they'rehiring less women over sexual harassment concerns. what's the point of the article
Like someone said above, no company with a desire for good PR will outright admit that, nor will they easily make data available for statisticians and journalists to make such conclusions. This article, while it indeed does not prove anything, shows the type of mindset these businesses will inevitably employ due to the influence of someone in government, and the on-going movement which increases the amount of "liabilities" for "having" women in the workplace.
 
Apr 25, 2009
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#36
Like someone said above, no company with a desire for good PR will outright admit that, nor will they easily make data available for statisticians and journalists to make such conclusions. This article, while it indeed does not prove anything, shows the type of mindset these businesses will inevitably employ due to the influence of someone in government, and the on-going movement which increases the amount of "liabilities" for "having" women in the workplace.
It’s such an obvious consequence that I’m not sure we really need hard evidence to conclude that some proportion of male-dominated workplaces will reduce or outright stop hiring of women.
 
Likes: iconmasterX
#37
It’s such an obvious consequence that I’m not sure we really need hard evidence to conclude that some proportion of male-dominated workplaces will reduce or outright stop hiring of women.
Quite. Do we, as functional members of society, not learn from the haunting past?
 
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Likes: matt404au
Jan 31, 2008
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#38
Makes sense from an intuitive Econ 101 sense. Make something more expensive, and you get less of it. This does increase the "cost" associated with hiring women.

I've heard this as a critique of paid family leave, that it will make businesses less likely to hire women because of the additional costs associated with it.
 
Jan 12, 2009
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#40
Correct, an overall reduction in women hires would show up. It'd then be a matter of how one attributes the change.

I guess my contention here is... expect to see that rate drop.
It’s such an obvious consequence that I’m not sure we really need hard evidence to conclude that some proportion of male-dominated workplaces will reduce or outright stop hiring of women.
Well you actually do, because it could take on other forms instead not related to hiring, such as senior men being less prone to mentoring woman than before.

But if anything since a few people like treating work as a dating scene, I see companies being more likely to have stricter employee relationship policies. But other than that I don't see it affecting hiring to any noticeable degree. A survey doesn't actually translate because whose responsible for hiring is a thing too.

But as it stands female leaders are still more in demand now than ever before. I also think companies much rather not get hit with gender bias class action lawsuits, which avoiding women would create.
 
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Likes: pgtl_10
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#41
I think #MeToo is a great example of “great intention, terrible execution.”

It was a matter of weeks, if that, before vultures hijacked the movement and it’s really a shame as the real victims are being overshadowed by the opportunists.
Virtually every movement has suffered this same fate, from religion to environmentalism to peace activism to feminism to everything. As time goes by people will use the movement to grab money/power. More so, they’ll keep inventing new issues in order to continue grabbing money/power.
 
Jan 27, 2018
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#42
This kinda dumb thinking is what caused this issue in the first place especially looking at third wave feminism of today that dont have much of a cause but a lot of voices, no one is automatically credible because of genitals you still need to investigate and have proof or you get it the kava way.
Sure... I did say "generally credible." Women can be villains same as men. I think taking accusations seriously and then investigating is a good strategy.
 
May 17, 2012
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#43
A lot of businesses are scum. They will do whatever they perceive as less costly. Even if it actually isn't or destroys the social fabric. Unfortunately social fabric isn't a line item on these companies ledgers. You people waiting for data can keep waiting. No company is going to divulge this information lest they be destroyed. It isn't going to be a complete ban on women but more subtle where if you have equally qualified candidates, one is a man, other is a woman they go with the man for the less potential baggage.

The tide has turned on metoo a long time ago. It seems like there is nothing but negative out of it lately. People should jump off this and try to crowd fund some counseling that helps victims of sexual assault. Do some actual good. The fact that it is some twitter garbage morphed it into some bad date story telling hour because humans are selfish and more people wanted to get in on it, even if their stories were bullshit or the equivalent of complaining about a paper cut after a war vet told you how they lost their leg. False accusations, regret stories that are in no way rape, this guy took me on a bad date, some guy made an advance which was rebuked and he stopped but I want to air this out anyway, someone brushed up on my arm by accident and looked at me and made me uncomfortable ALL drowned out actual sexual harassment, actual times someone used a position of power to gain a sexual advantage, actual rapes.

Everyone having a voice mixed with victim culture really torpedoed a worthwhile movement.
 
Likes: JareBear
Jan 12, 2009
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#44
A lot of businesses are scum. They will do whatever they perceive as less costly. Even if it actually isn't or destroys the social fabric. Unfortunately social fabric isn't a line item on these companies ledgers. You people waiting for data can keep waiting. No company is going to divulge this information lest they be destroyed. It isn't going to be a complete ban on women but more subtle where if you have equally qualified candidates, one is a man, other is a woman they go with the man for the less potential baggage.

The tide has turned on metoo a long time ago. It seems like there is nothing but negative out of it lately. People should jump off this and try to crowd fund some counseling that helps victims of sexual assault. Do some actual good. The fact that it is some twitter garbage morphed it into some bad date story telling hour because humans are selfish and more people wanted to get in on it, even if their stories were bullshit or the equivalent of complaining about a paper cut after a war vet told you how they lost their leg. False accusations, regret stories that are in no way rape, this guy took me on a bad date, some guy made an advance which was rebuked and he stopped but I want to air this out anyway, someone brushed up on my arm by accident and looked at me and made me uncomfortable ALL drowned out actual sexual harassment, actual times someone used a position of power to gain a sexual advantage, actual rapes.

Everyone having a voice mixed with victim culture really torpedoed a worthwhile movement.
I feel like you're just projecting your feelings, or agenda, rather than saying something that's actually true about hiring.

You're actually selling men short on their professionalism, by saying that enough of them can't make hiring decisions without objectifying coming into play.
 
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#45
Its an internet discussion board, I am just giving an opinion. Your objection to what I wrote was projecting your feelings, opinion, agenda. Why is it good for you to do that but not me. If you don't have a critique better than "that's like your opinion man" then I don't have time for you.

I have worked for 25 years closely with HR for enough shitbag companies that would cut your throat for a nickle that I don't put anything past anyone on hiring practices.
 
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Likes: matt404au
Jan 12, 2009
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#46
Its an internet discussion board, I am just giving an opinion. Your objection to what I wrote was projecting your feelings, opinion, agenda. Why is it good for you to do that but not me. If you don't have a critique better than "that's like your opinion man" then I don't have time for you.

I have worked for 25 years closely with HR for enough shitbag companies that would cut your throat for a nickle that I don't put anything past anyone on hiring practices.
As long as you admit that your feelings don't necessarily match reality.
 
Feb 21, 2018
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#47
Seems like some victim blaming and throwing the baby out with the bath water.

I agree with the men in regards to not being alone with women. In my work place if a women is being talked to about work issues its always 1 man and 1 women superior, never 2 men. And this is to cover both sides management and employee.

But solving the issue of harrasment shouldn't be to get rid of women. How about stop hiring people who harass and make it very clear that at work its strictly professional and the work place isn't a dating site or hook up club.

I also see the nasty side of metoo like with NDT who really didn't do anything wrong (outside of the rape allegation which for now I am waiting on more proof) but he is being vilified as a predator so I can see the cost/risk ratio, but it feels like a backwards step to just get rid of women. The message shouldn't be if you report harassment then women won't have jobs, it should be harassers won't have jobs.
 
Oct 3, 2004
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#48
More data would be nice, though Bloomberg's not the only one writing such stories. USA Today had a similar one back in October:

Indeed, men of a certain age appear to have the most difficulty adapting to the new work order. A Pew Research Center poll conducted in February and March revealed 66 percent of adults 65 and older believe it’s now harder for men to navigate workplace interactions.

The survey also indicated 51 percent of Americans believe the increased focus on sexual harassment and assault has made it more difficult for men to know how to interact with women at work. Only 12 percent said the interactions would now be easier.

Experts report increasing reluctance from men in positions of authority to hire or work closely with women, in some cases declining to hold one-on-one meetings with female employees.

“It’s not a good thing,’’ said Kellie McElhaney, founding director of the Center for Equity, Gender and Leadership at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. “It’s further disconnecting women from networks that we’ve already been excluded from. There are solutions, but I think right now men are a bit paralyzed.’’
A poll directed this year by LeanIn.org and SurveyMonkey found nearly half of male managers are uncomfortable participating in common work activities with a woman, and senior-level men are 3½ times more hesitant to have a work dinner with a junior-level woman – and five times more hesitant to travel with one for work – than with a junior-level man.

Male managers also have grown significantly more uncomfortable mentoring women than before, the survey said.

“We’re literally having executives say, ‘I’m really nervous about hiring a woman, particularly in roles like EAs (executive assistants), that’s such a personal job … I’d just as soon hire a male,’’’ Taylor said. “It has become a risk-management conversation.

“We must figure out from an HR perspective how to minimize that, because we don’t want men penalizing women for fear.’’
Crenn said she still frequently hears of abuses in the restaurant business, which from 1995-2016 was the source of more sexual harassment claims filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission than any other industry.
Janet Zaretsky, a speaker and corporate trainer in Austin, Texas, said she has seen the empowering effect the #MeToo movement has had on women, as well as the negative effects like making some men reluctant to hire or work in close proximity with them.

But it was the Kavanaugh hearings that crystallized for her the notion that the cause needs to continue.

“There is still much work to be done to have victims’ voices heard,’’ Zaretsky said, “and to wake people up that their behavior has consequences.’’
 
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#50
As someone working in investment banking myself, I do have the feeling many senior level staff would share those thoughts. And unfortunately, for understandable reason.

The most relevant anecdote that comes to mind was a female colleague who quit, and wanted to reduce her notice period. Her employer did not agree. Suddenly, she remembered who a colleague made a joke CA a year before that (about a difficult client, told privately to their team - male sales saying about his own visit "could have sent a naked topmodel there and they would have ignored us"). I'll leave it up to anyone how much of a harassment joke this is ;) (mind you, the female colleague was neither target of the joke nor somehow related to the story herself, most overheard it). Reported to HR.. Consequence being the guy in the team got a massive scolding, and hr agreed to her demands.

That's obviously still far away from fake rape allegations or what not, but point being.. Yea, sexual harassment measures can be abused, and actively are abused for people's own benefit.

Combine that with people working 17 hours a day (ie not keen having to walk a narrow tightrope with colleagues), and a highly competitive environment where many people use anything to their advantage for their own benefit, and it's somewhat understandable people are a bit scared, even if false allegations may be proportionally little - but one is enough.

PS - anecdote 2, another colleague needed to hire a private investigator because he was being criminally blackmailed by a colleague for their own career benefit. This wasn't a female colleague mind you. Just to underline.. People aren't paranoid for no reason, and understandably they aren't keen on being vulnerable to anything against which there is potentially no possible defense.